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moving! September 16, 2009

Posted by AnnaTheRed in Everything else.
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The first time I ever tried to make a kyaraben was 9/11/2008. It was a gigantic rice Totoro, and he was not so neighborly. It’s been a year since I started making a kyaraben. I had no idea I’d be still making it now one year ago. I want to thank everyone who encouraged me with “awwwww’s” (in person or on my blog) and the wonderful game & anime creators and Mr. Hayao Miyazaki for giving me such inspirations! Of course, HUGE thanks to my boyfriend who supports me and takes pictures of the bento and always eats everything in the bento box without any complaints. After all, I wouldn’t be making kyaraben if it weren’t for him. 🙂

Anyway, July 3rd was my birthday and I mentioned in my post that my boyfriend got me something very very special. It was…


Yes, he got me a domain!

Of course, he knew I was too lazy to export stuff from wordpress, so he’s been exporting my posts to annathered.com, and painstakingly organizing my site to make it easier to see, and finally it’s ready!

So yes, good bye https://annathered.wordpress.com/ and hello http://www.annathered.com!
I’m not going to close the wordpress one, but this will be the last post on https://annathered.wordpress.com/

New posts will be posted on http://www.annathered.com from now on. Also for those of you subscribed to the RSS feed I have a new feedburner link ” http://feeds2.feedburner.com/AnnaTheRedsBentoFactory “so please update your bookmarks and RSS readers!

Some new features have been added to the website that will make it easier to use and navigate. There’s a new live search that will give instant results as you type. There’s also a new gallery where you can browse by image and then click the link to read the blog post. There’s a new button that lets you preview your comment before making the official post. A few things on the sidebar include a translator panel and also an animated Flickr widget of the most recent photos I’ve posted.

The very first bento post on annathered.com is “Bento #62: Ponyo on the Cliff.”

Go check it out NOW!!

新しいアドレスは http://www.annathered.com です。新しいサイトではギャラリーなど新しい機能もつけてもっと見やすいようにしました。
新しいサイトでの新作キャラ弁は「崖の上のポニョ」です。是非是非チェックしてください!コチラ→ “Bento #62: Ponyo on the Cliff”


bento #61: summer totoro September 11, 2009

Posted by AnnaTheRed in bento blog (all), bento blog - ghibli (totoro, etc...).
Tags: , , ,

I made kyaraben the day I left for PAX. It had been awhile since the last time I made one… but the weather was getting no so summery, and I wanted to make something before the summer was over.

Bento #61: Summer Totoro
Created and eaten on: 9/3/2009

I knew I was going to make a summer themed kyaraben. Since I really didn’t have new character I wanted to make, I picked Totoro. I did a rough sketch, but since I’ve made so many Totoro bento no matter how I change the composition, it’d look like something I’ve already done… But I always try to stay optimistic. I figured that I’d come up with some magical plan to make this bento awesome while I was making it.

As usual, I put sauteed renkon (lotus root) at the bottom of the bento first. I had meatballs which I had made and frozen so I put them in a line with broccoli. Meatballs are great for Makkurokurosuke. It’s round and dark brown, so all you have to do is to put cut out cheese and seaweed for the eyes.

Cheese eyes are more stable than fish cake.

Then I started making Totoro with rice. I mixed rice with black sesame seeds with a little bit of salt, put it on plastic wrap and molded it into a Totoro shape. Then I realized that Totoro was the only rice part in this bento… which meant that I had to make a HUGE Totoro. Since I was using the bento box sideways and there were Makkurokurosuke at the lower part of the bento, there wasn’t much space left for Totoro. I tried to squeeze him in, but there was no way his ears would fit in. T_T Oh well… I just made the white part on his stomach with plain rice, put it on his stomach and moved on.

Look how round Totoro is!

I wasn’t sure if Makkurokurosuke meatballs were enough for my boyfriend, so I made asparagus wrapped with bacon and put it on the side of Totoro. I was worried that it was already getting very crowded… But I wanted to make sunflowers to make the bento summery. So I made an egg sheet (see “how to make egg sheets”) and made sunflowers. I put sunflowers in and tried to put cooked asparagus as its stem and snowpeas as its leaves. But because Totoro was so big, there wasn’t enough space for the leaves. Then I made mini-Totoro with a hard boiled quail egg (see “how to make mini-Totoro”), and squeezed him into the bento.

I peeled the outside red part of fake crab meat, cut it to a crescent shape with a round cutter, and put it on a snowpea. Then I put black sesame seeds on the crabmeat to make it look like a watermelon.

I liked how watermelon came out.

I originally wanted Totoro to have his mouth open, but I realized that he was too small to have an opened mouth like Sleeping Totoro or Flying Totoro, so I ended up making him smile. Since there was no space for his ears, I cut dried sea kelp for the ears and stuck them in his head. I cut out fish cake for his eyes, seaweed for his eyes and nose, and cut dried sea kelp for his whiskers.

Poor Totoro's head is squished.

I was in a rush, and it shows. T_T

At this point, I noticed that there was a big empty spot on the top left part of bento. Since I didn’t put lettuce underneath the renkon, you could see the bottom of bento box, which is a big no-no for kyaraben. So I quickly made a dragonfly looking thing with cheese and fishcake and put it there to cover it up.

I wasn’t that happy with this bento because it looked very much like something I’ve made before, and I didn’t really like how Totoro looks in this bento for some reason. I really need to get back to my bento routine. Now that I have no more business trips planned for this year and the weather is getting cooler, nothing can stop me from bento-ing like crazy! I hope. 🙂

– rice mixed with black sesame seeds and plain rice
– fish cake, seaweed, dried sea kelp
– snowpea, fake crab meat and black sesame seeds for the watermelon

– quail egg, fish cake and black sesame seed

– meatballs, cheese and seaweed

– egg and sausage
– asparagus, snowpeas

Dragon fly:
– cheese, fish cake

Other food:
– renkon
– broccoli

For more pictures of my bento, visit Bento! set and Bento details! set on my flickr page.

PAX 2009! September 9, 2009

Posted by AnnaTheRed in Alteil, Everything else.
Tags: , , ,

…and I’m back from PAX!

I was working at Alteil (online card game I work for) at PAX, Penny Arcade Expo, in Seattle from 9/4-9/6. I was going to do a blog post about PAX from the hotel everyday, but I was pretty exhausted by the end of each day… So I’m gonna do a post about my three-day experience at PAX!

9/3 Thursday Pre-PAX
We got to Seattle around 3:00 pm on Thursday. After we dropped our stuff off at the hotel, we headed to the convention center to set up our booth. When we were done, we went to the market, which was a couple of blocks away from the hotel. The market had fresh fruits, vegetables, fish, olive oil, etc… They all looked so shiny and yummy. I had grilled seafood for dinner and it was delicious. We went back to the hotel and decided to call it an early night for the long day on Friday.

We stayed at Sheraton. The hotel keys were sponcered by Dragon Age!

We stayed at Sheraton. The hotel keys were sponsored by EA's Dragon Age!

The lanyard was by the Behemoth!

The lanyard was by the Behemoth!

Beanbags were ready!

Beanbags were ready to be sat on!

9/4 Friday 1st day at PAX (8:30 am – 7:00 pm)
Friday was a press day for PAX so the main convention center opened at 8:30 AM! They opened early for press so that they could try out new games and have business meetings with the people at the booth. (It was open to the public at 10:00 am) We’re a lot smaller compare to other game companies like Blizzard, Nexon, Bungie, Upper Deck, etc… so we didn’t really have to worry about press people running to our booth. 😛 But it was nice to get there early to check out other booths before the place got too crowded.

I decided to take advantage of this opportunity and stopped by at the Behemoth booth with the Behemoth chicken plush I made. And there they were! Dan Paladin & Tom Fulp (creators of Alien Hominid & Castle Crashers), and John Baez (producer at the Behemoth), and Emil Ayoubkhan (project manager at the Behemoth) were all working hard to finish setting up their booth.
I gave the chicken to Dan. He was laid back and super awesome. I also got to talk to John for a bit. He was also amazingly nice. Tom (also mighty friendly) took a picture of me licking the chicken on his phone. I’m so not photogenic that I always make faces when someone’s taking a picture of me. Glad that I did, because they put it on their dev blog later. 😛 I brought two chicken so I could give them one, and have them sign the other one for me. They all gladly autographed my chicken. 🙂
They also gave me some free stuff! They were way too nice I don’t know how to describe it with my poor vocabulary. It’s so great to know that these very casual, warm, friendly people make such awesome games. I bought a couple of shirts and hats for my boyfriend and myself. They put the chicken I gave them on the display case with other wonderful “fan art” gifts! The chicken seemed very happy to be home. 🙂

My behemoth chicken on the right. Someone has made adorable Castle Crashers plush too!

Such an adorable booth!

Such an adorable booth

A hardcore Castle Crashers fan!

A hardcore Castle Crashers fan I met at the Behemoth booth.

The Blizzard booth was right in front of us at the convention center, and they had a couple of huuuge 25 feet tall 12 feet wide walls in their booth space. (which made me want to climb it very badly.) The lines to their Diablo 3 station always had at least 10 people so they’d check out our trailer while they waited or got bored waiting and decided to play our game. We actually got very good traffic from them. 😉 Next to our booth was “Omni Consumer Products,” who were giving away the promotional blood drink to promote “Tru Blood.” People also lined up to get their drinks, so we got nice traffic from them too. (Not to mention that the guys at Omni Consumer Products were really fun.)

Fuzzy (the mascot of our game) and two beautiful ladies at Tru Blood booth

Fuzzy (the mascot of our game) and two beautiful ladies at Tru Blood booth

Later that day, one guy came to our booth with his friends, and asked me “Are you AnnaTheRed?”, I said “Yes!” (thinking that he was an Alteil player), but it turned out that he was a fan of my bento! I was so surprised that someone actually came to visit me in person at the Alteil booth. I felt bad that I couldn’t give him anything. I could’ve brought cookies or something… I really should make business cards for my bento blog. 😦

The convention center had a big buffet for exhibitors that night. So we just stayed there, and had some meat and drinks for dinner. We got to talk to the people from other booths which was really nice. We also found out that Tru Blood drink tastes even more delicious when mixed with vodka.

HUGE meat. It was actually very jucy.

HUGE meat at the buffet. It was actually very juicy.

9/5 2nd day at PAX (10:00 am – 6:00 pm)
The second day started out a little later than Friday, so we had the time to go down to the market to have breakfast. After the breakfast, Lupos (he’s my friend I made the plush of Master Chief from Halo for his birthday) and I headed to the convention center while Logress and GaoGaiGirl (co-workers/friends) shopped around the market.

I walked around and got some free shirts, free inflatable sword, free posters, free bags and such. Later, I took the Behemoth chicken to the Behemoth booth again to have Dan draw the chicken on the chicken. There were always a lot of fans hanging out at the Behemoth booth, trying to play their new game “Game #3” (title not finalized, will be released in 2010) and trying to buy their products. I was so sad that I couldn’t play the “Game #3.” 😦 I just couldn’t find the time to play. Hopefully a demo will be out soon.

There were No More Heroes toilet papers in the bathroom.

There were "No More Heroes" toilet papers in the bathroom.

Saturday is usually the party night. Every major company has a really big party. The line to the Resident Evil 5 party was wrapped around a block. White Wolf had a party but it was kinda far away from the hotel. I was still feeling a little under the weather and I didn’t want to spread germs around so I decided to stay at the hotel room with Logress and GaoGaiGirl for the night. =< (I know, I can’t believe I blew this chance.) My friend Lupos went to hang out with Destructoid people near the hotel, but he didn’t stay out that late either. I heard the Bungie party was PACKED. I mean it’s Bungie, so I wasn’t surprised, but damn I wish I could’ve been there…

I didnt go to parties, but I did have a glass of Triple Ale AVB. 9.00%

I didn't go to parties, but I did have a glass of Triple Ale AVB. 9.00%

9/5 3rd day at PAX (10:00 am – 6:00 pm)
Same as Saturday, we went to the market to have breakfast in the morning, went to the convention center, and started the day. We actually had three volunteers helping us at the booth this day, and it was a huuuge help for us. We have four stations, and there are four of us, so just going to the bathroom or getting lunch can be difficult if there are only four people working. After the convention was over we took down our booth and headed to the airport. Our flight left at 10:00 pm from Seattle and arrived at JFK at 6:00 am on 9/8 Monday. (w00t for redeye!)

Castle Crashers cosplayers!

Castle Crashers cosplayers I spotted the last day.

PAX was the last convention for Alteil this year.  Every convention is hard but so much fun. I appreciate anyone who stopped by at our booth and tried out our game. You get to eat different foods, meet different people, see different things, but I was soooo relieved and happy (and sleepy) to see my kitty and my boyfriend when I got home. 🙂

Anyway, PAX was fun! The Behemoth people were awesome! Tru Blood drinks were bloody delicious! (with or without alcohol) Beanbag pillows looked very comfy! Coffee and food are absolutely yummy in Seattle!

Autographed with awesomeness

Autographed with awesomeness

Things I bought at the Behemoth booth

Things I bought at the Behemoth booth

Metal Castle Crashers keychain

Metal Castle Crashers keychain

Oh I do.

Oh I do.

Free poster from BioShock 2 booth

Free poster from BioShock 2 booth

PAX will split into two conventions, PAX East (Boston) and PAX Prime (in Seattle), from next year. Hopefully, PAX East will be as crazy as PAX Prime!